Do You Suffer From Mondayitis?

Do those Monday morning blues descend with monotonous regularity at the start of every week? Are you blaming your job, or the fact that everyone goes back to work and school and a week of household drudgery awaits?

Well, maybe the famous Mondayitis is not all psychological in origin. Scientists at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia have found that the familiar “down” feeling associated with Mondays may be related more to sleeping patterns than thought processes.

Not only have they discovered the reason for feeling depressed at the start of each week, but they also have a cure. And it’s all to do with our weekday sleep habits.

This new study has come up with the theory that those lovely Saturday and Sunday morning lie-ins can be the undoing of us on Monday morning. People often use the weekend to catch up on much needed sleep, says sleep expert Leon Lack of Flinders University. But they do it to the detriment of their Monday morning mood.

The researchers presented their findings at a recent conference and concluded that although the extra sleep at the weekend helped with any sleep deficit accumulated over the week, the effect of this “catch-up” is similar to the effects of jet lag. Hence, on Monday morning comes the familiar washed out feelings of overwhelming tiredness and fatigue.

The weekend sleep-ins were actually found to temporarily reset the body clock, throwing the sleep system out of whack and setting the body up for the Monday blues. By the middle of the week the body had recovered from the effects of oversleeping but by the end of the week, people commonly reverted to late nights, accumulating sleep “debt.” Thus the cycle repeats itself all over again.

Apart from the physical and psychological effects of sleep derivation, there are also health issues to consider. More work-related accidents occur on Mondays than other days therefore our weekend sleep-ins are actually impacting on many aspects of our physical and emotion health.

Researchers have the perfect cure for Mondayitis. Don’t sleep in on the weekends. As tempting as it seems to catch up with lost sleep, it does come at a price. As with advice given to people with chronic sleep disturbances, it is important for all of us to limit late nights and sleep-ins and try to maintain regular sleeping habits regardless of the day of the week. Weekends are a man-made institution and our bodies are adapted to follow circadian rhythms associated with the sun and the season, not TV and parties.

So, the message is simple. Regular sleep makes for stable mood patterns and better health.

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